“Well, Congress, What Now?”
Mining Affairs Forum
By Ken Thornberg
I keep hearing one comment after another about America’s future, or lack of one. I’m sure you have also. Just today I heard from so-called “experts” that Washington is about to throw up its hands in desperation and give up, as our leaders can see no way out with our own meltdown, this one being our economy. Of course, as you might imagine, the only way out is not on the drawing board: cutting back spending from prior levels, removing regulations and laws holding business hostage, and going back to what made America great: character, integrity, minding our own business, and a free market economy. So, why don’t we review some of what the Pledge to America (PTA) is supposed to offer to help turn things around.
What We are Facing
Thanks to the same old tax-and-spend politicians, from both parties, we have accumulated over $14 trillion in debt—not counting future entitlement spending that is already “locked in.” The federal deficit is now over 1.5 trillion dollars per year; that was the entire budget just 20 years ago. As Cong. Ron Paul recently wrote, “When government grows, freedom shrinks.” And so it has.
Social Security made up the largest single chunk of mandatory spending ($544 billion), followed closely by Medicare ($325 billion). These two alone consume more than half of government mandatory spending and 25% of the whole budget. Yet, the PTA says nothing about them. Economic and demographic trends show that, over the next couple decades, the Social Security system will become insolvent, in spite of the fact that the government has given seniors no increases these past couple years and may attempt to continue that trend, falsely claiming that inflation is not occurring. Anyone looked at gas and food prices lately?
Knowing that Obamacare would cause health care costs to skyrocket into another solar system, the House voted 241-187 to de-fund it and 245-189 to repeal the program. Needing and not getting Senate support, it has threatened to keep the budget from paying for this boondoggle. The question on all American’s minds is, “Will this new House have the guts to stand its ground and say no, or will it finally cave in to Democratic pressure and the liberal media?” I.e., will they remember who and why they were voted into office? Am I the only one wanting to look into this crystal ball, or are there others of you wondering the same thing? In the meantim,e it will be the U.S. Supreme Court which will determine if the law is even constitutional. Already, a few states have seen judges rule that it is not.
The PTA is offering to let us obtain health coverage across state lines, create incentives to save for our health needs, ensure that those with pre-existing conditions can still get coverage, and finally, will end taxpayer funding of abortion. Appropriately, they stopped funding $345 million for Planned Parenthood, the premier abortion provider in America. But, again, the Senate has refused the paltry $61 billion in budget reductions proposed by the new House of Representatives, which includes the “planned” Planned Parenthood appropriation. Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, has complained that this is way too much to ask of this Congress. The press has been merciless in its attacks of conservatives in Congress. Go figure. A $1.5 trillion dollar deficit and the House wants to cut $61 billion. Uhhhhhh….can all of you do the math too?
Health Savings Accounts, already in place, is another thing which the PTA wants to improve by making it easier for patients with high-deductible health plans to use them to obtain access to care. There are a few other things too, but it is by and large just a new way of creating different controls in the health sector. I guess my question is, based upon the electorate’s message sent to Washington, “Why don’t you get out of health care altogether?” While you are at it, why not remove the unconstitutional FDA, phase out Medicaid, leaving it in the hands of the states, and allow insurance companies to compete once again?? Why do we want to copy Canada, whose socialist health care system is now bankrupt?
More Waste Goes Unnoticed
The PTA makes no mention of scaling back our efforts at policing the rest of the world, specifically in Iraq or Afghanistan. How many of us are convinced that when we finally leave these nations, they will stay stable and able to fend off radical Islamists, where, if they don’t, it would have all been for naught? Is anyone else a little skeptical like I am and you wonder if any of this has really been worth the incredible cost in lives, and secondly, in tax dollars? Why is it that the U.S. seems unable to stop messing in other nation’s business? Why are we spending trillions to garrison countries like Germany and Japan, maintaining hundreds of bases all over the world, even in nations who want us to leave? Why not let these developed nations take care of themselves? Why do we waste all of our resources on that when our own people are unemployed and hungry?
Why is it we keep paying by far the largest chunk of the UN’s budget when it is still a bed of spies and keeps us entangled in the world’s policeman role? Why doesn’t the PTA offer to remove us from the UN and NATO? Not one single conflict we have been involved in since World War II has been in defense of American soil. Is anyone else figuring that the recent events in the Middle East are an excuse to enter some new conflict, along with the alleged threats of Iran and other nations which our liberal media are exploiting to make more intervention possible?
And what of the Federal Reserve, one of the most wasteful, unconstitutional, and economically destructive entities in all history? Most Republicans in Congress won’t even support Rep. Paul’s’ bill to simply audit the organization. I’m sure many of you, like myself, have seen the Congressional committee interview with the Fed’s own financial inspector who admits she has no idea how the Fed’s funds have been spent! Hellllooo? Congress knows that the Fed and its printing presses have always furnished them with a quiet means of avoiding levying taxes to pay for unpopular government spending. Fiat money is the foundation of the modern welfare state, which America has adopted and the Fed keeps feeding this trough at our expense. It’s time to end this Marxian plank of his Communist Manifesto.
The PTA does have a few goals set forth, but it is simply to “rein in” spending, not actually cut it back! All it promises to do is scale back spending to “pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels.” The problem with this is that government spending was out of control over 20 years ago, not just 3 or 4.
And Then the Regulations
The PTA does profess caring about government regulation run amok. It appears it has for now been able to stop the Cap and Trade con. At least for now, if they have the courage to continue holding the line of defense for freedom for business. Big government regulations are a way for Congress to abdicate its legislative responsibilities, allowing agencies like the EPA and FDA to emit and enforce tens of thousands of pages of unpopular regulations for which Congress can avoid the blame. And they have done a good job of that. What does the PTA say about these unconstitutional and costly regs? Simply that it will require congressional approval of any NEW regulation that has an annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more! Why shouldn’t Congress vote on every new regulation, including those that regulators say will cost us only $99 million! Can you believe this?
The Bottom Line
If the past is any prelude to the present and future, the “momentum” for greater change will soon fizzle and Americans will get the short end of the stick once more. Newt Gingrich has said that the GOP leadership “has not made any outlandish promises because they think that relatively small promises that are kept will do more to build momentum than large promises that can’t be kept.” Do you really believe that? If Gingrich is an example, I can still remember when the pledges he made in 1994 were not kept at all. He chickened out on almost every single promise in his Contract with America that he wrote. In the end, we lost more freedoms, just as we are today. I hope all of our readership is as aware of what was promised by the PTA versus what they get done as much as I am. It is us who have to hold their feet to the fire. The PTA could end up serving only to divert the energy, enthusiasm, and expectations of the fired-up Tea Party and their fellow citizens in the electoral base, and to neutralize any principled constitutionalists who got elected. If we continue to allow President Obama to buy his next election by handing out dollars left and right to those who are too unscrupulous to say no, we will go the way of Rome. People, we cannot afford that. Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to hear from you.